TED Talks’ global community of powerful speakers is a wealth of empowering information. Whether you’re tuning in on YouTube or listening in on the podcast version, anyone who’s taken in a TED Talk or two is bound to walk away improved.
It is a genuinely effective informational platform that proves that short, casual, and often humorous talks, which are many times informed by the speakers’ personal experiences, are in many ways more persuasive and memorable than long, drawn-out books addressing the same subject. In as little as three minutes, you can learn “5 Ways To Create Stronger Connections” in a tech-obsessed world from entrepreneur Robert Reffkin. In as few as five minutes, Columbia University professor Lucas Husted will answer “Can You Predict Human Behavior?”
Not only do TED Talks respect listeners time by employing the art of brevity to educate on a wide array of topics, but they also share new perspectives. It’s the mini Snickers of food for thought. Who could pass up a mini Snickers that expands your mind?
There is a lot of talk about being productive. Questions, such as what are you accomplishing during the Pandemic? Or, what will you get done now that you have time in quarantine?, are rampant. Even here on Medium, many of the featured headlines read “How to Be Productive and Creative in Times of Panic” or “To Be More Productive, Hack Your Sense of Time.Clearly, we the people want to be productive and need motivation to get our butts into action. I personally enjoy these types of articles and take an immense amount of joy in crossing off tasks on my to-do list and hitting publish on my sixth blog post of the week.
The other day, while researching information for one of my freelance clients and listening to the TED Talks Daily podcast, I happened upon a talk that encouraged me to slow down. It led to me finding a couple of others that spoke beautifully to the often-overlooked benefits of slowing down, turning off your phone, and learning to listen.
Here are three TED Talks that can help you redefine productivity in less than 38 minutes.
An oldie, but a goodie. And in no way outdated. In this February 2016, TED Talk writer and radio host Celeste Headlee discusses the elements of great conversation, including clarity, brevity, and actually listening. In her words, “There is no reason to show that you are paying attention if you are, in fact, paying attention.” In other words, don’t think of your response while someone else is talking. Just listen. And get off your phone while you’re at it. This one is great for anyone who ever speaks to another human in any setting, professional or otherwise.
Total Time: 11 minutes, 44 seconds
2. How To Turn Off Work Thoughts During Your Free Time
Are you burnt out by your job? Psychologist and author Guy Winch tackles the increasingly common problem head-on in this November 2019 TED Talk. Winch’s advice will teach you how to stop ruminating over office tasks and tensions when you’re off the clock. This one is a game-changer for the ultra-productive who are starting to cross the line into obsessive, and for people who don’t want to invite work-stress into their personal lives.
Total Time: 12 minutes, 13 seconds
3. The Paradox Of Efficiency
Us efficiency and productivity junkies have a lot of learn from historian Edward Tenner. In his December 2019 TED Talk, he points out notable events when being efficient was a downright danger to humanity. Faster is not always better, but there is still a place for getting stuff done. Tenner explains seven ways we can use “inspired inefficiency” to be more productive.
Total Time: 13 minutes, 38 seconds
In short, these speakers’ advice will help you maximize your time by rethinking how you define productivity. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.